THE Philippines is set to host next week a tripartite meeting with Malaysia and Indonesia that will focus on enhancing cooperation on how to stop the rising threat of terrorism, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday.
Cayetano however said that they are still finalizing the details of the meeting that will be attended by foreign ministers of the three countries and their top security officials.
“We will be talking about enhanced cooperation, how we can deal with it tripartite with Indonesia and Malaysia,” he told reporters in an interview.
Cayetano said they will also discuss ways on how the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) can play a bigger role on preventing the spillover from Syria and Iraq.
He said the Philippines will host the event but it was Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi who proposed the holding of the meeting, supported by Malaysia.
Cayetano said no specific date has been set for the meeting but it will be held after the June 19 launch of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia joint naval patrols in the Sulu Sea.
The tripartite maritime patrol in the Sulu Sea aims to address piracy, kidnapping and armed robbery in the area.
There have been several incidents of abductions involving Malaysians and Indonesians reportedly by the Abu Sayyaf in the Sulu Sea.
“We will be making ourselves available to media but obviously we will be talking about many, many things that are either classified as confidential or secret but the aim is to make this a group effort, an inter-country effort, or team effort,” Cayetano added.
He said coming up with means to enhance cooperation among the three nations is far better than each country fending off extremism by themselves.
One area that needs enhancement, according to Cayetano, is intelligence sharing wherein each country could provide information about suspected terrorists in their area.
He added that by sharing information, the countries could come up with ways to cooperate and identify, intercept and arrest terrorists coming from other countries.
“So we are providing the venue, we are hosting it but this is a brain child of the Indonesian foreign minister and we thank her for that,” Cayetano added.